Blue Ridge Community College offers Finish Line Grants to help near-graduated students finish strong


BRCC News | Published July 26, 2019

sunrise over the mountains image with words Education Elevated on it.

Woman crossing finish line with people running behind her


Blue Ridge Community College, in its continuing mission of providing quality, affordable and local education to its students, now offers a Finish Line Grant for students who find themselves in a tough financial situation in the last leg of their academic journey.

Partnering with Mountain Area Workforce Development, the college allows Blue Ridge students to apply for the grant if they’ve completed at least 50% of their program of study and are in good academic standing with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students must also be 18 years or older, a U.S. citizen or have an authorization to work in the U.S. and male students must be compliant with selective service requirements.

In mid-2018, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced this program to help students complete their schooling when facing unforeseen challenges.

Jason Chappell, director of the NCWorks Career Center at the Transylvania County Campus of Blue Ridge Community College, explained how game-changing the program has been.

“We’ve helped several students already, but it’s still fairly new,” Chappell said. “This also only applies to students who aren’t transferring to a four-year university.”

There is a limit of one Finish Line grant, up to $1,000, per student per Program Year (July 1 – June 30).

A plethora of events can qualify a student for a Finish Line Grant. These may include sudden, unexpected homelessness or lack of permanent housing, due to a natural disaster, fire or documented roommate dispute resulting in a need for short-term emergency housing; eviction/foreclosure due to unexpected loss of income; sudden lack of transportation due to a car accident or unexpected mechanical problems; loss of books, computer or courses supplies/equipment after the initial purchase, due to natural disaster, fire or theft; and a financial emergency preventing the payment of a utility bill (water, gas and electric).

“Some people may have to choose between fixing whatever issue they’re dealing with — like rent and utility bills — or finishing their program at Blue Ridge. We’ve all had that difficult month where other expenses have occurred and we didn’t know how a bill would get paid, so that’s what these grants aim to help with,” Chappel added.

Public reaction to the grants has been incredibly positive, especially since all funds allocated equal nearly $25,000 specifically designated for student aid.

To apply for a Finish Line Grant, contact the NCWorks Career Center on the Henderson County Campus (Continuing Education building) or the Transylvania County Campus (Strauss Building).

If approved, an NCWorks Career Center Advisor will handle payments. Funds will not be distributed directly to the student, but to the entity providing the service for the student.

Unexpected circumstances could happen to anyone at any time, which can be incredibly stressful. Thankfully, Blue Ridge’s Finish Line Grants exist to help you focus on your future, rather than your current predicament.